I would just take surgery out of your mind frame completely right now. To think about that is already taking on a defeated mindset IMO. Obviously I'm not saying down the road it may not be an option especially if the conservative treatments are not helping, but right now you are on the right track. Unfortunately the physician is correct in saying that it sucks that you waited so long to get it checked out as the disc has already started to scar in the bulged state, but this doesn't mean all is hopeless.
You should get some good relief from the oral steroidal medication (I am assuming it is a Medrol Dose pack, where you will take 6 pills the first day, then 5 the next, then 4, 3, 2, 1). After the MRI, there will be more info as to the severity of the bulge, where it is located, and they will know where to put the Epidural Steroidal Injection (goes into the disc/spine) if it is necessary. You generally can get a series of 3 shots, but it isn't necessary to take all 3. If 1 shot fixes it, that's all you need. With the treatment and rehab, you should be good to go.
If it does come to surgery, it is a coin toss IMO. I've seen some athletes come back better than ever after surgery and a LONG rehab. But I've also seen some come back without any improvement and never get back to their previous athletic level.